Every December, more and more “Best Books of the Year” lists pop up across social media. We thought it would be fun to ask our Facebook and Instagram followers to share the titles of the best books they read in 2015 and here’s what they said.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome -- but that will define his life forever.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. (By the way, this title is one the Belmar Library’s book group will be reading in 2016 in case you want to participate in the discussion!)
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Lydia is dead. But they don't know this yet. So begins the story of this exquisite debut novel, about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.
Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson
After his daughter disappears, social worker Pete Snow must face the fact he has failed his own family as he is drawn into a manhunt when his client--a disturbed and paranoid survivalist--sparks the interest of the F.B.I.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, this novel tells the story of widower Henry Lee, his immigrant Chinese father, and his first love Keiko Okabe.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America, and a drama of almost unbearable acuity and power. It is a story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the enormous power of art.
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield
The rigid moral codes held by mid-twentieth-century preacher Samuel Lake are called into question when his twelve-year-old daughter and his neighbors hide a young boy from his abusive father, a man who lashes out at the community when he learns about the deception.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
"Ready Player One takes place in the not-so-distant future--the world has turned into a very bleak place, but luckily there is OASIS, a virtual reality world that is a vast online utopia. People can plug into OASIS to play, go to school, earn money, and even meet other people (or at least they can meet their avatars), and for protagonist Wade Watts it certainly beats passing the time in his grim, poverty-stricken real life.. Stuffed to the gills with action, puzzles, nerdy romance, and 80s nostalgia, this high energy cyber-quest will make geeks everywhere feel like they were separated at birth from author Ernest Cline.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
The sudden death of a Hollywood actor during a production of "King Lear" marks the beginning of the world's dissolution in a story told at various past and future times from the perspectives of the actor and four of his associates.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser
Presents a minute-by-minute account of an H-bomb accident that nearly caused a nuclear disaster, examining other near misses and America's growing susceptibility to a catastrophic event.
Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
Emma Gatewood told her family she was going on a walk and left her small Ohio hometown with a change of clothes and less than two hundred dollars. The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail.
The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck
Buck's epic account of traveling the length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way--in a covered wagon with a team of mules, an audacious journey that hasn't been attempted in a century--tells the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country.
The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists Are Unraveling the Mysteries of Our Favorite Crustacean by Trevor Corson
In this intimate portrait of an island lobstering community and an eccentric band of renegade biologist, journalist Trevor Corson escorts the reader onto the slippery decks of fishing boats, through danger-filled scuba dives, and deep into the churning currents of the Gulf of Maine to learn about the secret undersea lives of lobsters.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
On the morning of her wedding, Princess Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive--and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets--even as she finds herself falling in love,
The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
An aristocratic girl who is a member of a warmongering and enslaving empire purchases a slave, an act that sets in motion a rebellion that might overthrow her world as well as her heart.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.
What was the best book you read in 2015? Take a selfie of yourself with your favorite read of 2015 and tag us in it on Instagram or Facebook! We’ll choose one winner to receive a fun JCPL swag bag!